NINETEEN MPS from the region have claimed back energy bills on expenses, forcing taxpayers to foot the cost.

As many families struggle with fuel poverty and heating bills, an investigation by a national newspaper has revealed that hundreds of MPs have had their energy bills paid by the taxpayer.

More than half of the country’s MPs submitted claims for heating their second homes, amounting to £200,000 a year.

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According to the Sunday Mirror, 340 MPs claimed the expenses for energy such as electricity, gas coal or other fuel. Stratford-on-Avon politician, Nadhim Zahawi, submitted the largest claim, totalling nearly £6,000 while Labour leader Ed Miliband claimed back £403.59.

In the region, York Central MP Hugh Bayley submitted the highest bill of £1,773 for gas, logs and coal, followed by Newcastle East MP Nicholas Brown, who claimed £1,174.

The lowest claim was submitted by Hartlepool MP Ian Wright, who claimed back £135.

Jonathan Isaby, political director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said some of the claims were “unacceptably high”

He told The Northern Echo: "It is fair enough for MPs who need to rent a second home to claim for essential utilities at that property, but taxpayers will be astounded at the size of some of these bills.

“We know only too well that energy doesn't come cheap, but given that they are only staying in these properties for part of the week, some of these claims are unacceptably high.

“Just become someone else - ie the taxpayer - is paying, that doesn't mean that our MPs shouldn't be seeking to keep these bills under control. They should ensure they are using the cheapest supplier and not run up the bill unnecessarily, such as leaving the heating on at times when they are not there, for instance."

A total of 310 MPs in Westminster claimed nothing for fuel bills on second homes.

Darlington MP Jenny Chapman, Middlesbrough South and Cleveland East MP Tom Blenkinsop, Richmond MP and Foreign secretary William Hague didn’t submit a claim. David Miliband and Mary Glindon, MPs for South Shields and Tyneside North also paid their own energy costs.

Energy bill expenses submitted by MPs:

• Hugh Bayley, York Central. £1,773

• Nicholas Brown, Newcastle East £1,174.16

• Phil Wilson, Sedgefield, Labour, £832.73

• Anne McIntosh, Thirsk and Malton. £832

• Catherine McKinnell, Newcastle North £692.37

• Stephen Hepburn, Jarrow, £655.70

• Chi Onwurah. Newcastle Central. £639

• Helen Goodman, Bishop Auckland. £632.43

• Andrew Jones, Harrogate & Knaresborough. £435.92

• Roberta Blackman-Woods, Durham City. £420.00

• James Wharton. Stockton South. £403

• Grahame Morris, Easington. £360.00

• Robert Goodwill, Scarborough and Whitby. £320.73

• Julie Elliott. Sunderland Central. £352

• Alex Cunningham. Stockton North. £337

• Alan Campbell. Tynemouth. £275

• Pat Glass. Durham North-West. £270

• Julian Sturdy, York Outer.£183.34

• Ian Wright. Hartlepool. £135